Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Skirt Steak with Homemade Steak Sauce

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

Steak sauce is a controversial subject: some love it, and some judge those who use it. Even at mighty steakhouses like Peter Luger in Brooklyn, where some of the best beef in the country can be found, they always bring it out. But to some a steak sauce is a crime: Why cover up the taste of great beef with a sugary ketchup-like goop? If you have good beef, leave it alone with just salt and pepper, and leave the condiments to the lesser joints.

Still, I had to trust a recipe from a book called Steak with Friends by celebrated Chicago chef Rick Tramonto. He augments the ketchup base with umami-rich dried shitake mushrooms, soy sauce, dry mustard, and dark brown sugar, plus a few more secret ingredients. Everything simmers together for 45 minutes, which is enough time to roast some oven fries and cook the steak with time to rest. The result is round and rich, sweet and tangy, and quite balanced.

If you like steak sauce, this is a serious winner. And it might make a few converts, too.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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